Halben Sends Attleboro Past Mansfield in Double OT

Attleboro boys soccer
Attleboro players mob sophomore Will Halben (center) after his game winning goal in double overtime. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – For Attleboro, the third time playing Hockomock rival Mansfield proved to be the charm.

The Bombardiers suffered a 3-0 loss to the Hornets early in the season and settled for a 1-1 draw in mid October.

But on Saturday night, Big Blue picked up the win in the game that mattered most, walking away from Alumni Field with a 1-0 win in double overtime in the MIAA D1 South First Round.

Eighty minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of the first overtime period wasn’t enough to separate the two but it took less than a minute of the second overtime period for Attleboro to find the winner.

Sophomore Colin Levis blocked a clearance on the right wing, raced to the ball and delivered a cross into the area. Mansfield goalie Nick Ferraz dove out, getting a hand to the service. The ball fell to sophomore Will Halben, who calmly cut the ball back and used his toe poke with his left foot to find the back of the net for the winner.

“When it got to me, I cut it outside and toe poked it with my left foot and megged the goalie and it got in,” Halben said. “I was really off balance but I was able to get enough power to get it through. I kind of forgot it was golden goal but everyone jumped on me and I was crushed at that bottom but it was a great feeling.”

It’s the third time in the last four games that Halben has scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win for Attleboro.

“He’s got the speed around the net, he’s been pretty good,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “He missed his first one and just pushed it in with his toe. It was a good game, Mansfield kind of carries the play a little bit. Those throw ins are deadly. We’ve been practicing defending them but they are so hard to defend because of Mansfield’s height. Even though they had most of the possession, we needed a break and that’s what we got. The boys played well.

“Playing a team from the same league for a third time, it’s really difficult. The good thing was my kids were relaxed because they knew who the enemy was. But we also knew they had beaten us earlier in the season but we had tied them the second time so that really helped our conference. We’re 1-1-1 this year [against Mansfield] but we’ll take this one.”

The Hornets had over a dozen attacking throw ins and nearly 10 free kick opportunities that put the ball into the area but the results included either hitting the post, a save from Bombardier goalie Nick Hasenfus, a shot wide or a clearance from Attleboro’s defense.

The effort off the post came early in the game when Cullin Anastasia rose up to meet a throw from Max Gurnon. His header bounced once before hitting the post and staying out. Rebound chances from Brendan Sullivan and Anastasia were blocked by defenders.

Ten minutes later, a service into the area eventually bounced out to the top of the 18, but Sullivan had his shot on target saved by Hasenfus.

Mansfield had the two first chances of the second half as well when Max Gurnon ripped a shot from the left wing that went to the far post but Sean Lanzillo’s touch went just over the bar. Five minutes later, James Chotkowski’s header off a corner from Kevin Bouck bounced wide at the far post.

“We’re strong on those throw ins and those free kicks but just couldn’t find the back of the net today,” Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan said. “[Attleboro] played great, I knew they’d pack it in and play tight defense. And their goalie played phenomenal. My hats off to them. We had more than enough chances in regulation, never mind overtime, and we just didn’t do it.”

Attleboro finally had a chance in the 61st minute with Halben blocking a clearance, racing around a defender and going in at goal at a tight angle but Ferraz did well to come out and cut the angle down, holding onto the ball after sliding out. Two minutes later, AHS freshman Mike Russo lofted a cross into the area but Halben’s header went wide of the far post.

Anastasia got his head to a throw from Gurnon in the 72nd minute but Attleboro defender Tyler Treichler was positioned well and headed the ball clear before it could get through to Hasenfus.

“They got four goals against us during the regular season and three of the four were from throw ins,” Pereira said. “They’ve got the height to flick it. We tried to work on stepping in front of them and get to it first. They are very good with those throws, the free kicks. Their defense is very good, Max [Gurnon] is a horse back there and they won most of the balls. But we’ll take it and we’ll go on and see what happens next.”

Hasenfus made the biggest stop of the game in the 78th minute. Gurnon dropped a free kick into the area that fell between Sullivan and Anastasia. Anastasia was the one to pounce, unleashing a shot from inside the 6 yard box but Hasenfus was positioned perfectly and knocked the bid aside.

“He’s been very solid, he’s grown all year long, the team has confidence in him,” Pereira said of Hasenfus. “We weren’t sure what to expect but he’s been solid, he’s a Hockomock All Star…he hasn’t made mistakes. We have not lost games because of him. Today – that one late was a big save – and the others he was sweeping them up and there were no drops. My defense played well, Harry [Lancaster] and Treichler played very well and the outside backs were strong too.”

Attleboro boys soccer (8-5-6) will take on #4 Braintree in the D1 South Quarterfinal. The Bombardiers will visit the Wamps on Monday at 6:00. Mansfield finishes the season 11-5-3.

Halben Lifts Attleboro Past Taunton and Into Tourney

Attleboro boys soccer
Sophomore Will Halben scored the lone goal of the game to lift Attleboro to a second straight 1-0 win and book the Bombardiers a spot in the state tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Attleboro attack has been far from potent this fall, scoring only 13 goals through the opening 16 games of the season and more than one goal in a game just twice, but on Wednesday night at Tozier-Cassidy Field a young Bombardiers team still had the opportunity to book its place in the state tournament.

Not surprisingly, Attleboro would only get one goal, but it turned out to be all it needed against Taunton. Sophomore Will Halben scored the winner for the second straight game, as the Bombardiers held off the Tigers 1-0 to qualify for the postseason.

“We got to the tournament that was really positive,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira, who also celebrated his 250th career victory on Wednesday. “I really wanted it for the younger kids because we got two big years coming up and I really wanted them to get a taste of it and see what it’s like.”

For two teams that had combined for only 22 goals coming into the game, Taunton and Attleboro started wide open with chances coming thick and fast in the opening half hour.

Ahijah Joseph got the attack going just two minutes in when he ran onto a through ball from Nick Lawrence, but his shot sliced wide of the post and into the side-netting. Two minutes later, Taunton had its first chance with Sean Crowley getting space in the right channel but sending a shot over the bar.

Joseph had a header on a corner cleared off the line by Taunton defender Jake DeAndrade and on the other end Crowley got hold of a volley but hit is straight at Attleboro keeper Nicholas Hasenfus. Taunton keeper Tim Gambaradella was then called into action for his first save when Zach White’s pass bounced into the path of Michael Russo but the goalie smothered the shot.

The game’s lone goal came in the 23rd minute. Devin Andre slid a pass behind the Taunton defense for Halben to run onto and the sophomore showed poise to calmly slide the ball inside the far post and past Gambaradella (four saves).

“It’s the young guys, the freshmen, the sophomores, they’ve got speed and they’re going to be really good in the future but right now it’s a learning curve,” said Pereira, who is in his 37th year in charge of the program. He added, “We don’t get too many goals, so we have to take them where we can.”

Taunton almost answered back immediately, but another shot found the side-netting. The Bombardiers could have doubled the advantage in the 28th minute when Russo found Nathan Laplume for a scoring chance only to be denied by Gambaradella at full stretch. The rebound fell kindly to Halben but he smashed his shot off the crossbar of the goalposts just above the net.

The next chance for either team would not come until nine minutes after the break when Lawrence had a shot saved and then his follow up was blocked out for a corner by Dan DeAndrade. That would be the last clear-cut chance for either team until the final three minutes of the game.

As end-to-end as the first half of the game was, the second turned into a midfield stalemate with both teams clogging up the middle of the pitch and limiting the opposition’s ability to get the ball into the final third. First-year Taunton coach Taylor Whitters credited the Tigers defense for closing the gaps and taking away space in the second half.

She added, “It’s just a matter of trying to stick with and learn our shape and try to be quicker with transitioning. That’s something we’ve been working on and I think they did a really good job of it in the second half especially.”

With a chance to secure a tournament spot on the line, Attleboro started to look a little nervous in the second half and passes started to go astray. Pereira said, “It was an ugly game but we’ll take it. We didn’t want to make mistakes and we were making mistakes.”

At the back, senior Harry Lancaster was there to clean up most of the mistakes, alongside fellow center back Tyler Treichler, and keep Taunton from taking advantage. “Harry’s been solid every game,” Pereira said. “He has absolutely saved our butts. He’s our top player. He’s a great captain and his soccer has been great at the back.”

Joseph nearly set up Lawrence in the closing minutes but the cross just missed the forward at the back post. With the clock stopped in the final two minutes, Russo had a chance blocked on the slide by Liam Crowley and then Lawrence flicked a pass to Russo who pushed it on to Austin Champagne, but Gambaradella came through with a stellar dive down to his left to deny the second goal.

“We missed a couple opportunities to out the game away,” said Pereira, “but what are you going to do? We’ll take it, we’ll organize and get ready for our last game, which is big for them because it’s for the cup.”

Assessing her first year in charge, after three years with the freshman program, Whitters said, “We have a very, very young team, so I’m very proud of all the accomplishments they’ve had this year. We’ve made lots of little victories along the way and I’m really excited for next year.”

Attleboro (7-5-5, 7-4-5) will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon in the annual Leach and Garner Cup against North Attleboro.

Oliver Ames Earns Playoff Berth In Barata’s 100th Win

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Nathaniel Cardoza (left) and Ned Donovan (right) go up for a ball with Attleboro’s Ahijah Joseph. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSportscom)
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Each year, Oliver Ames head John Barata says goal number one for his squad is to make the tournament.

The Tigers can check that off the list for 2016.

Oliver Ames scored a pair of second half goals and senior Ben Kemp made a couple of big saves as the Tigers landed a 2-0 win over Attleboro. The win gives Oliver Ames 17 points on the season, qualifying them for the D2 MIAA South Tournament. The win was also Barata’s 100th career win.

“We’re happy, we finally got in,” Barata said. “It took a little longer than I think I might have expected after I saw us play early in the season. But we struggled to score goals. On a positive note, it’s good to start getting these goals as we’re going into the tournament, it’s better than peaking too soon. We’re pretty happy with the way it worked out and very happy to be in the tournament now.”

In a relatively even first half, both OA and the visiting Bombardiers had decent scoring chances. A corner kick in the 11th minute fell to the feet of OA senior Joe LaBrosse but his low chance was blocked by a defender at the post.

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In the 18th minute, Attleboro senior Tyler Treichler denied OA of two solid scoring chances. First, it looked as though OA sophomore Nathaniel Cardoza would have an open look from the left side of the area but a slide tackle from Treichler denied the bid. Less than a minute later, LaBrosse had a chance from inside the area but once again Treichler got his leg in the way.

In the 23rd minute, OA’s Matt Campbell played a ball over the top for Thomas McCormick, who tried to chip the keeper but Attleboro’s Nick Hasenfus got a paw to it and pushed it wide.

Attleboro registered it’s first real chance in the 29th minute as Nick Lawrence was given some space for a shot from just outside the area but Kemp got a piece of it and smothered the rebound. A minute later, McCormick had a go from just outside the area but OA but Hasenfus was quick to get down and handle it.

Oliver Ames was content to sit back for the majority of the half, and did so to start the second half. The team’s patience paid off less than 10 minutes into the second half, as Oliver Ames saw an opportune time to press.

Cardoza chested down a clearance and took a touch towards the final third. He was able to push the ball past a defender towards the touchline, forcing Hasenfus to come out. Cardoza slipped the ball back to the middle where McCormick was able to tap it in to make it 1-0.

“I think the challenge is they don’t expect it from OA, because we’ve always pressed high and kind of run and gun and get forward, possess a little bit and then get forward again. By us sitting back, opponents have to make adjustments,” Barata said. “We like it because control the tempo, we can go slow, we can go fast, we can go in between. The best part about is, teams just give it to us sometimes because they try to go over the top or through the middle and then our guys are good when we have the ball. It can be frustrating to try and beat. So far, we’ve been successful doing it.

“We talk about trigger points on when to press, when to get forward. It’s not me shouting out when to press, it’s the kids recognizing triggers. It wasn’t perfect but it’s added an element to our game.”

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Attleboro sophomore Will Halben had a chance to level the game a minute later, taking a shot from the left side of the area. Kemp got a piece of it and Chris Lawrence cleared the loose ball.

“We have everything but the final third,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We can’t get the ball up and find the guys there. I have some of young guys trying to do some running but the final third, nothing got going. First half was kind of an even game. Second half they came out a little bit hungry, they had a couple of chances and they took it to us. We’re not a team that can come back, we don’t have the fire power. We can win the close ones but once they got the second goal, it was difficult to come back.”

The Bombardiers had their best chance in the 57th minute. Zach White’s free kick spilled to the right side of the area where senior Harry Lancaster was able to track it down. He launched a service back in front of goal where freshman Michael Russo put a header right on frame but Kemp came flying back into position to stop it.

“Ben made a huge save for us there,” Barata said. “He came out several times to deny some chances too, he has been great all season. All of our seniors have been great. They have really worked hard and helped accomplish our first goal, which is to qualify for the tournament.”

Oliver Ames doubled the lead just four minutes later in the 61st minute. Lawrence launched a throw in in the attacking third that found Cardoza in the area. The junior flicked the ball on, right to the head of classmate Cam Vella for an easy header into the net.

“We’re happy to put that [set piece] away,” Barata said. “The kids were joking how it was such a great sub because Vella had just gone in, it was his first touch. It’s something we’ve tried to work on, so many teams in this league can do it, and we have some kids who can too. So might as well work on a flick and it worked out for us tonight.”

Attleboro drops to 5-5-5 overall, with 15 points. The Bombardiers need to get 18 points to qualify for the postseason and have three games left to get those three points.

“We need three points in three games,” Pereira said. “We should be able to get it but everyone wants points now. The kids are working are, I’m sure we’ll do it. We’ve played all the big boys now we need to get some points from the final games.”

Oliver Ames boys soccer (7-4-3) is headed back to the postseason after going to the D2 State Final the last two years – winning it all a year ago. The Tigers’ seventh win of the season was also Barata’s – and assistant coach Fred Kurtz’s – 100th career win.

“I’m thrilled because it’s about parent support, school support – the administrators have been very supportive – and then my boys,” Barata said. “The kids are awesome, it’s their wins, they’ve won 100. I’m here to guide them along the way. Coach Kurtz and I have been here for almost eight seasons. It’s a wonderful honor for the school, for the kids and for the Easton soccer program. It’s a wonderful milestone but now it’s over with but it’s been a lot of fun.”

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Foxboro, Attleboro Each Grab A Point In Scoreless Draw

Foxboro boys soccer
Attleboro junior Nick Hasenfus picked up his sixth shutout of the season in the draw. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – As teams enter the final weeks of the regular season and points are at a premium, Foxboro and Attleboro settled for one apiece as they fought to a 0-0 draw at Sam Berns Community Field.

Despite dominating the majority of the first half, and recording more scoring chances in the second half, Foxboro was unable to find the back of the net, hitting the crossbar once and being stopped by Attleboro goalie Nick Hasenfus on other attempts. Meanwhile, the Bombardiers continued to be frustrated by the Warriors’ high pressure and their lone serious chance of the second half was blocked away before Bobby Harrison was forced into a save.

“We have to pick up points,” Foxboro head coach Joe Franchino said. “The guys fought hard, I thought we were the better team today. We were knocking it around, we had the possession and we had the chances. You just have to keep grinding, it’s been the nature of the season so far. The boys aren’t quitting though, it was just unfortunate we didn’t get a goal.”

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After Attleboro registered the first scoring game in the 13th minute – a sequence between Aidan Lancaster and Ahijah Joseph resulting in a shot over the bar from Nick Lawrence – it was essentially all Foxboro for the final half hour of the opening stanza.

In the 17th minute, Anthony Barreira played Colin Spinney wide and his low cross was met by a one time shot from Nic Beigel but his shot skipped wide.

In the 25th minute, Beigel sent in a low service to the near post where freshman Joe Cusack got a touch to it but Hasenfus cut the angle down and got just enough to keep it out.

Three minutes later, after a corner was partially cleared, a service from Will Regan eventually was deflected to Barreira, who volleyed a rocket right off the crossbar and out.

The Warriors had two chances in the final minute with Spinney finding Cusack at the near post but his shot was wide and then Cusack returned the favor by playing Spinney in but Hasenfus denied his shot to send the teams into the halftime break scoreless.

“The first ten minutes is a feeling out period, looking at the formation they are playing, matching up players, have to be defensive minded in that first ten minutes,” Franchino said. “But once we got in a groove, we pushed players on and I thought we had the better play and the better opportunities.”

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“We’ll take any tie because our goal is to get points,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We need points, we have four left so any point is great. Obviously [Foxboro] played better than we did, we got lucky because they hit the bar and they had a few opportunities. But we’re going home with a point so that’s excellent. It was one of our weakest games. We just had our best game last game and it was 0-0 then too. We dominated that game but here today, no. Foxboro was hungry, they were winning the 50/50 balls and had opportunities. The first half was all them. I don’t usually call timeouts but Foxboro was just putting pressure on us.

“The second half was more even but they still won more of the 50/50 balls. Anthony [Barreira] is deadly around the area. He’s a big boy, he’s got a good touch so he’s difficult. Harry [Lancaster] does a good job with anybody and he did with him.”

The Bombardiers registered the first chance of the second half when Austin Champagne pounced on a loose ball off a corner kick but his bid was blocked.

Foxboro’s AJ Bubencik had a shot from just outside the area saved by Hasenfus in the 57th minute and Barreira had a similar shot smothered by Hasenfus in the 61st minute.

“He’s been solid,” Pereira said of Hasenfus, who notched his sixth shutout of the season. “He talks, he gets the kids going, the kids have confidence in him now. He’s been a total surprise, I had no idea. He’s been playing JV. He’s been playing ODP for the last couple of years so he’s been getting the training and he’s been absolutely awesome for us. And with Harry [Lancaster] and Tyler [Treichler], they play solid, Harry’s been our MVP for the season.”

The Warriors continued its pressure and it resulted in another good bid. Barreira played Spinney wide but his shot just rolled wide at the far post in the 67th minute.

“I think that’s the difference from where we were at the beginning of the year to now is the pressure in the center of the park,” Franchino said. “We’re not letting teams play. It’s just getting the right mixture of the right players. Even our outside backs stepped up and our backline was pushing players on. We’re not just winning balls in the defensive third, we’re winning them in the attacking third and middle third which makes a huge difference. We just have to keep grinding.”

Attleboro had its best chance in the 70th minute when Joseph sprang Will Halbem in behind the defense but before he could uncork a shot in the area, Foxboro’s Shawn McNamara slid in and pushed the ball out for a corner kick.

Foxboro boys soccer (2-7-3, 1-7-3), which has earned at least a point in four of its last five games, will look to continue that trend when they travel to Sharon on Monday. Attleboro (5-3-4, 5-2-4) travels to Wrentham to take on Kelley-Rex leading King Philip the same day.

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Set Piece Goals Propel Mansfield Over Attleboro

Mansfield boys soccer
Mansfield’s Sam Hyland goes after a high ball into the box against Attleboro keeper Nicholas Hasenfus. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MANSFIELD, Mass. – Coming into Thursday night’s game at Alumni Field, Attleboro coach Peter Pereira warned his defense about the long throws of Mansfield senior defender Max Gurnon. He warned his defense that it is a major weapon for the Hornets and that they need to be prepared anytime Mansfield wins a throw anywhere near the attacking third of the field.

No matter how many warnings Pereira gave, it does not make it any easier for the defense to deal with Gurnon’s bombardment of throws. He assisted on the first goal and got credit for the third when it was headed home by an Attleboro defender. Gurnon created consistent havoc in the Attleboro penalty area and the Hornets took advantage to pull out a 3-0 victory.

“I told my kids to play them like a corner and we did the first one and there was no one at the post,” said Pereira. “They took it to us a little in the first half with those long throws. It’s better than a kick. You get it in there, a little header, and things happen.”

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Mansfield coach Steve Sheridan said, “We’re starting to cash in on his throw-ins, a lot better than we used to. We’re working on them. I’d like to see more goals from the flow of the game, but we’ll take them.

“If teams want to keep giving us these throw-ins then we’ll take them.”

The Hornets nearly had the perfect start when Sean Lanzillo chipped a pass over the top for Kevin Bouck in the first minute but the senior could not finish the chance, sending his shot over the bar. Attleboro had a quick response four minutes later when a corner was not properly cleared and Will Halben hit a near-perfect half-volley that smacked off the bar.

The rest of the first half was dominated by the Hornets with the ball constantly in the Attleboro half and Gurnon getting chance after chance to put a ball into the box from free kicks and throws. In the ninth minute, one of his throws paid dividends when it eluded everyone in the middle of the box, bounced on the far side, and was nodded into goal by Jackson Murphy at the far post.

At the midway point of the half, Mansfield doubled its lead. James Chotkowski lined up a shot from 20 yards out and forced Attleboro keeper Nicholas Hasenfus into a full stretch save. The resulting corner bounced off Brendan Sullivan to Sam Hyland on the edge of the box and he fired in his chance to make it 2-0.

“That was huge and it made them play with a little more urgency and allowed us to take more chances,” said Sheridan. “When we had the ball, we were able to get it up there and get some numbers forward.”

The Hornets were relying on Gurnon and Harry Braidt to hold down the center of the defense and limit the chances for Attleboro. The Bombardiers started pressing forward at the end of the first half and during the break Pereira urged his team to continue pressing the Hornets.

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Just before halftime Colin Levis sent in a dangerous cross from the right but it went just over Halben inside the six and just missed the toe of Ahijah Joseph sliding in at the back post. The Bombardiers continued the push forward in the second half with Zach White becoming more influential in the midfield.

Mansfield had the opportunity to put the game away in the 55th minute when John Cooney escaped a challenge by Harry Lancaster and raced in clean on goal. Hasenfus (four saves) denied him with a slide and Hyland had his follow up cleared off the line.

A minute later the Bombardiers nearly cut the lead in half when freshman Nathan Laplumeflicked a pass into classmate Michael Russo, but, while the Mansfield defenders screamed for an offsides that was not forthcoming, Russo rolled his shot inches wide of the post.

“As far as soccer, second half we won a lot of balls, but up front I tried to put guys up there but we just weren’t able to finish,” said Pereira. “We picked up at the end of the first half and we carried it for about 30 minutes.”

Chotkowski nearly killed the game off with a header off a throw in the 64th minute and Cullin Anastasia also sent a header wide three minutes later. The Hornets finally put the game away with yet another throw by Gurnon. This one was headed into goal by an Attleboro defender with 12 minutes to play.

“The third one was the dagger,” said Sheridan. “It let me breathe a little bit easier…That’s probably the best game we’ve played from start to finish this year…all around, offensively and defensively.”

It was the fifth straight win for Mansfield (5-0-1), which stays unbeaten ahead of Monday night’s visit of Franklin. Attleboro (2-2-1) drops back to .500 with the loss and now faces a tough stretch beginning with Saturday’s visit of New Bedford followed by Franklin and Oliver Ames.

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Treichler’s Late Goal Gives Attleboro First Win

Attleboro boys soccer
Canton’s Paul Corcoran holds off a challenge from Attleboro’s Ahijah Joseph in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – As the final minutes of Saturday evening’s game between Attleboro and Canton ticked down, it looked as though the teams were destined for a scoreless draw.

But with just under six minutes to play, Attleboro senior Tyler Treichler got on the end of a set piece service and used his head to tuck the ball on the inside of the post and give the Bombardiers a 1-0 win in both team’s first game of the season.

Senior Harry Lancaster and Treichler teamed up throughout the game to stifle the Bulldogs’ offense while Canton center backs Danny Hartnett and Matas Leveckis limited Attleboro’s chances.

As the game ticked into the 75th minute, the Bombardiers earned a free kick near the corner flag. Junior Zach White played it short, only to get it back immediately. He drove a cross to the back post and Treichler was able to jump up in a sea of players and get his head to the ball, putting it just inside the post, making it nearly impossible to stop.

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“We’ve been sending the two guys from the back up for corners and set pieces because they can head the ball, so that paid off,” Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira said. “We have a good team and the kids are working hard, that’s what we we are. We’re young but we work hard.

“The freshmen are giving everything they have and that sets the tone for the other kids. We have a while to go though, this is most of the kids’ first ever game playing together because of the ages are so different. I was happy with the performance and of course the points are even more important.”

Each team had just once serious chance in the first half. Lancaster’s low free kick to the near post was deflected to freshman Michael Russo in the 8th minute, but his shot on frame went right at Canton goalie Abe Garber.

Canton nearly took the lead just seconds later off when Paul Corcoran took off down the right flank, centering a pass for Ben Waterhouse but Attleboro goalie Nick Hasenfus came off his line and just got in front.

The Bulldogs started off on the front foot in the second half, finding a chance in the 47th minute, Corcoran sent in a low cross to the near post, where Cole Duserick got a touch on but the ball spun just out of the reach for Waterhouse to get a clean shot and it slipped wide.

Attleboro had a chance midway through the second half when Devin Andre combined with Ahijah Joseph at the top of the area but Andre’s shot went over the bar.

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Canton’s Jake Verille made a nice run in the 65th minute into the final third but his shot was saved by Hasenfus. Two minutes later, White played Connor Dunn wide and his cross was met at the far post by Nick Lawrence, bit his bid back across goal went wide. Lawrence’s shot three minutes later was stopped by Garber as well.

That led to Andre going for a 50/50 ball on the right sideline, earning a free kick just by the corner. That led to White’s service and Treichler’s winner.

“Attleboro played great, I thought they they had the territory in the first half. We actually had the possession in the first half but we kept the ball in our end so it didn’t do anything for us,” Canton head coach Danny Erickson said, also praising Attleboro’s defensive effort. “They were really dangerous, keeping the ball that first half. I thought we turned it around and had the ball down their end the whole second half, they had a couple glimpses and then they took advantage of a set piece and scored a really nice goal. I don’t think he was completely open, I thought we were on him but he scored a great goal. I thought we gave them a great fight in the second half though but it’s onto the next one.”

Attleboro’s defense was bolstered by Lancaster, who has made the switch from an attacking option to a center back for his senior year. It seemed anytime that Canton had something going in the final third, Lancaster was there to cause a problem.

“Harry is doing well for us. He was playing midfield but I felt like I needed someone back there,” Pereira said. “He’s got the speed, he’s got the experience. He’s covering for everyone back there. With Treichler next to him, he’s learning with Harry too. Then we rotate four sophomores in the wings and we’re hoping they’ll do the job.”

Attleboro boys soccer (1-0-0) will look to make it two in a row with a trip to Stoughton (0-1-0) on Tuesday. Canton (0-1-0) will be back in action on Friday when they travel to King Philip (1-0-0).

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Boys Soccer: 2016 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview
Oliver Ames’ Thomas McCormick and King Philip’s Cam Mullins battle for possession last season. OA and KP will battle for the same division title this season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Kelley-Rex Boys Soccer Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 4-10-3
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Peter Pereira

Attleboro is only returning three starters from last year’s squad but the Bombardiers are hopeful that its incoming players will keep them competitive in the Kelley-Rex this season.

Senior captain Harry Lancaster will anchor the back line, showing his versatility by playing yet another position in his fourth year on varsity. Senior captain Ahijah Joseph will see time at both forward as well as some time in the midfield, alongside junior Zach White, another returnee. Junior Nick Hasenfus will take over as the starting goalie while seniors Tyler Treichler and Nick Lawrence will also emerge as key contributors this season. Head coach Peter Pereira also expects to get contributions from underclassmen including sophomore Will Halben and freshmen Mike Russo and Nathan LaPlume.

“We will be a hard working team that should get better every game,” Pereira said. “I think we will surprise some teams.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 12-7-1
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Fran Bositis

Franklin has some big holes to fill around the field but returning nearly a dozen varsity players is a good start. Around 10 returning players saw valuable varsity minutes last season and that is something the Panthers will rely on.

The Panthers have to find replacements for midfielders Austin Kent and Nick Parent, along with defender Dan Geraci and goalie Henri Guilmette. However, Franklin doesn’t need to find any replacements for its strikers with both Farley Asmath and Kevin Hall back this year. Hall was second on the team with seven goals a season ago and Asmath is speedy, strong player that could add a lot to the attack. Hatim Brahimi (five goals, three assists in 2015) is one of the top returning players in the league and will lead the midfield for the Panthers this season. Franklin’s defense will consist of a rotation of five or six players, including Wesley Kozil and Noah Scafati. Senior Joe Kroon and junior Fred Beckmann will battle for the starting goalie spot.

“We’ve got a bunch of great athletes that are pretty good soccer players that work really hard,” head coach Fran Bositis said.

King Philip

2015 Record: 8-8-3
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Second Round
Coach: Nick Gale

The Kelley-Rex division title race expects to be a very contested one and King Philip looks like they’ll be right in the mix this season because of a strong balance of returning players.

Senior captains Cam Mullins and Ryan Coulter are returning to anchor the back line, which had a strong showing in 2015 with the fourth least goals surrendered in the Hockomock. Both have proved in the past to be reliable defenders, especially in the air against set pieces. Although the Warriors will have to replace the versatile Joe Kellett, KP has a handful of young players that saw valuable minutes on varsity and can make an impact this year. Tyler Mann will lead the attack, a year after scoring a team-high eight goals as a sophomore. Senior Colby Koch has shown his versatility in the past and will also be a factor for KP again this this. Juniors Connor Mullins, Larsen Keys and Mike Rowe also will be key players for the Warriors this season after each of them played meaningful minutes as sophomores.

“Our goal is to build off last year’s successes, continue to improve everyday, and compete hard,” head coach Nick Gale said.
“We know what we want, but we also know we have to earn it.”

Mansfield

2015 Record: 13-4-3 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Steve Sheridan

The defending Kelley-Rex champions will look to try to win back-to-back league titles for the first time in program history and they have a large amount of returning players that could help accomplish that goal.

Captain Max Gurnon, a 2015 HockomockSports.com Best XI selection, returns for his senior campaign to anchor an experienced back line that allowed just 15 goals last season. While Mansfield must overcome the graduation of Chris Elsner, juniors Nick Hyland and Harry Braidt both started on the back line last year while sophomore Ethan Brill-Cass looks to be the final piece to the defense. Mansfield will have to find a replacement for goalie Mike Kirejczyk but head coach Steve Sheridan said senior Jed Tolbert and junior Nick Ferraz will battle for the starting spot.

“As far as our strengths go, our defense should be strong,” Sheridan said. “Losing [Chris] Elsner is a big loss, but Ethan [Brill-Cass] saw a lot of time as a freshman last season and learned a lot from Chris. I’m hoping our offense is much improved over last season.”

The Hornets finished fifth in the league in scoring last year and graduated its top four scorers. However, there is a group of attacking players back that saw plenty of minutes. Senior captain Brendan Sullivan will be a speedy option up top while classmates Kevin Bouck and Ryan Amaral will figure into the offense. Senior captain James Chotkowski will lead a midfield unit along with Jackson Murphy, Cullin Anastasia and Sean Lanzillo.

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 18-0-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2015 Finish: Division 2 State Champions
Coach: John Barata

Oliver Ames has had a target on its back for the last couple of years as they claimed four of the last five Davenport titles but after winning the program’s first ever Division 2 State Title last Fall, it’s bigger than ever.

The Tigers will have to replace two All-State players in Chris Romero and Keegan Nutt, as well as three seniors from their league-best defense last season. However, OA does return a good chunk of starters as well as experienced bench players from the state championship team.

Senior Thomas McCormick has been causing havoc for defenses for two years and will be relied upon to do so again this year. Nathaniel Cardoza, the 2015 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, will be back to control the middle of the pitch alongside Cam Vella, who showed his ability to get forward last season. Juniors Matt Campbell, Matt Alvarado, Jack Sheldon and Mason Galbato all saw time in the midfield last season and look to be contributors this year. Junior Jack Carroll is back in net again this year.

“We will try to be competitive this season and make another run at qualifying for the postseason,” head coach John Barata said. “Our path to the state tourney is extremely difficult this season as we join the Kelley-Rex. We look forward to a great season and hope to be in a position to qualify for the state tournament in late October.”

Barata noted that losing the back line, one that surrendered just 12 goals all season, will be a major challenge for the Tigers this season.

Taunton

2015 Record: 2-13-2
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Taylor Whitters

With a new coach at the helm in Taylor Whitters, the Taunton Tigers are looking to build a new foundation for years to come. Whitters, who was previously the boys freshmen coach, is hoping the Tigers can rise up to the challenge of the very talented Kelley-Rex division.

Two key returning players include sophomore Hasan Farahat and junior Daeshawn Duffie. Both players possess strong soccer skills and will be vital parts for Taunton both ways as they patrol the midfield. Senior Sean Crowley will be tasked with pacing the scoring for the Tigers while freshman Colton Madeira, senior Dan DeAndreade and junior Jake DeAndrade will all be factors as Taunton pushes forward. Junior Liam Crowley will factor into Taunton’s defense and sophomore Liam Crowley will play a role in Taunton’s midfield.

“We are going to rise up in our league with respect, integrity,encouragement, unity and pride,” Whitters said.

North Beats Attleboro On Penalties to Win Cup

North Attleboro soccer
The Red Rocketeers celebrate with the Leach and Garner Cup, which they won 5-3 in penalties following a scoreless draw. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Sophomore keeper Brendan Matracia was playing JV for most of the season, but had to be called up when senior captain Rob Heaney went down with a concussion. On Thursday afternoon, in the fourth round of the penalty shootout, he became the hero when he guessed right and stayed still to save Justin Andrade’s shot down the middle.

North Attleboro’s other co-captain Matt Coscarella put the ball down on the spot with a chance to beat Attleboro and win the Leach and Garner Cup. He stepped up, buried his shot, and wheeled towards the visiting bench to celebrate North’s fifth cup win in the past six years.

“Being able to win, even in PKs, anytime that you beat Attleboro it’s great,” said North Attleboro coach Geoff Burgess.

“I think we had more to play for. Only one win on the season and not really finding our way until the end…this was our championship game really.”

The game had little drama in regulation with both teams struggling to create clear-cut scoring opportunities. Attleboro had the first real chance in the eighth minute when junior Nick Lawrence struck the crossbar with a shot from 20 yards out. Two minutes later Harry Lancaster had a shot that ricocheted off the football crossbar.

Lancaster had another chance at the half-hour mark when he danced through a sea of Rocketeers but his shot was easily saved. Just two minutes before the break, North had its first real chance when Leo Charlebois turned the corner on the left back and fired a shot that Tyler Stowe held at his near post.

Early in the second half and Coscarella had a go from 20 yards following an interception in the attacking third, but his curling effort was saved by a diving Stowe.

“That’s really a synopsis of our season,” said Burgess. “We’ve been this close in a bunch of games.”

In the 58th minute, Junior Coca had his second good chance of the second half when he got on the end of a clearing header by Noah Barney from Khaled Hantash’s cross from the right. Coca took a touch but his shot was off target.

“Even though we dominated the game 90 percent,” said Attleboro coach Peter Pereira, “we couldn’t finish and if you don’t finish then you can’t win.”

“It came down to penalty kicks and then it’s anyone’s game.”

North’s defense was solid, limiting the Bombardiers mostly to chances from distance, Barney, who moved up from outside back to play stopper, and sweeper John Brennan, who played football for the past two season, were rocks at the back and Burgess credited the duo for helping to improve North’s defensive record.

“We’ve stopped giving up as many goals,” he said. “We gave up 39 in the first 15 or however many games and we’ve given up three in the last five.”

“We’ve improved dramatically and I’m really proud of the guys for not quitting on the season. I think this is payback for all of that.”

The game headed to penalties immediately after the final whistle. Charlebois opened it with a goal for North followed by Zach Rodrigues for Attleboro. The game went back and forth until North took a 4-3 lead.

The following shot was saved by Matracia, who stood his ground in the middle of the goal, and Coscarella had the chance to close out his season, and his North career, with silverware.

The winning goal was an experience that Coscarella shares with several North captains in the recent past.

“I always do that every year that we’ve won,” said Burgess. “I always put my senior captain at the end because they’ve earned that moment.”

Pereira remarked, “This year neither of us is going to the playoffs, so it’s a good end of the year game. That’s why I started the cup 30 years ago.”

He added, “It’s a big rivalry game and winner takes it all…and today they took it all. They stayed in the game and they did what they had to do.”

Coscarella and Rodrigues were named the game’s MVPs.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Brahimi, Hall Shoot Franklin Past Bombardiers

Hatim Brahimi
Hatim Brahimi (10) scored a goal and assisted on another, as Franklin beat Attleboro to clinch a postseason spot and a tie for first in the league. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

FRANKLIN, Mass. – At halftime, the Panthers were in need of a spark. Attleboro had packed the midfield and limited the home team to no shots on target and a single corner. Franklin huddled during the break, discussed the situation, and came out for the second half on the front foot.

Senior Hatim Brahimi scored what turned out to be the game-winner 12 minutes after the break and added an assist on the first of Kevin Hall’s two goals as Franklin beat the Bombardiers 3-0 on Friday afternoon at Pisini Field.

With the victory, the Panthers clinched a return to the state tournament and, coupled with a Mansfield draw against King Philip, moved into a tie at the top of the Kelley-Rex standings.

“Mostly, they talked about things that they had to do better and just went out and executed it,” said Franklin coach Fran Bositis about the halftime team talk that spurred his team to victory.

The first big chance of the game fell to the visitors in the third minute. Junior Coca played a through ball into the path of Ahijah Joseph down the right channel. The junior blazed his shot inches over the bar. It would be the best chance that either side would have in the opening 40 minutes.

“I thought that in the first half they were beating us in the air and doing a better job than we were of kind of controlling the tempo of the play,” said Bositis.

“I thought they played well and I don’t think we played as well as we had talked about before the game in terms of us dictating the play.”

Attleboro used three at the back, with right sided defender Brandon Aldana having a particularly impressive game, and loaded the midfield to stymie the Panthers coming forward and to allow more possession for Harry Lancaster, Zach Rodrigues, and Coca.

The best that Franklin could do were a few balls through the Attleboro back line towards Hall and Brain Czuba, but they were cut out by Attleboro keeper Tyler Stowe.

Attleboro coach Peter Pereira said, “Overall, I thought it was one of our better games. We had possession and got the ball moving. Second half, they started pressing us a little bit more, but we made a couple of mistakes and we paid for them immediately.”

After not putting a single shot on target in the first half, Franklin made sure to rectify that in the opening two minutes of the second. Czuba cut a pass back to the edge of the 18 to Brahimi who took a touch and curled a shot towards goal that Stowe parried at full stretch. A minute later and Brahimi ran onto a through ball from Austin Kent but again Stowe was quick off his line to block the shot.

In the 52nd minute, Brahimi finally got his goal. Again it was Kent that provided the assist on a perfect slide rule pass between defenders, who turned towards the officials with hands up hoping for an offsides call that was not forthcoming. Brahimi took an extra touch and slid the ball inside the far post to give Franklin the lead.

“The first goal we got a call against us and our players just didn’t react,” said Pereira. “He was talking to the ref as they’re playing. You can’t do that.”

Attleboro had a few chances to try and tie the game. Coca had a 20 yard free kick that he curled around the wall but right at the well-positioned Henri Guilmette (five saves). Five minutes later, Attleboro had another chance when Devin Andre found space on the left and picked out Lancaster but again Guilmette got down quickly to save.

In the 66th minute, Brahimi showed the other part of his game when his deft flick sprung Hall behind the Attleboro defense and he was able to beat Stowe to the far post to make it 2-0.

With three minutes remaining in the game, Hall wrapped up the win when he ran onto a under hit back pass and lifted the ball over the stranded Stowe to make it 3-0 and continue his torrid scoring record over the past few games.

“He’s been a little more composed and I think he’s a little more confident now because he’s had some success,” said Bositis. “If you play up front and get some goals, it usually elevates your confidence level.”

The defeat knocked Attleboro out of playoff contention. It is the first time that the Bombardiers have missed the postseason in a number of years.

“We just don’t have enough power up front to score goals,” said Pereira. “You just try to hold the back and see how that goes and try to create something.”

“Every season is different and this is one of those.”

Franklin (9-4, 8-4) will face off with Mansfield on Monday in a battle of the two teams tied for the division lead. Attleboro (3-8-1, 3-9-1) will host Taunton on Monday night.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Bombardiers Fall Into Old League Rival’s ‘Trap’

Harry Lancaster
Attleboro’s Harry Lancaster (5) is denied by Dartmouth goalie Nathan Morgado in the second half of Saturday’s game. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was like watching a replay, over and over again. Every time the Bombardiers played the ball over the top in the first half, the whistle would blow and the referee’s arm would get raised and the attack would be cut short by an offsides call.

Dartmouth and Attleboro are old rivals from the EAC and the Old Colony League, but the Indians sprung a surprise on the Bombardiers on Saturday morning at Tozier-Cassidy Field by playing a high line that was practically in the opposition half with the keeper out near the 30 yard line.

The line worked wonders as Attleboro was called offsides 14 times, according to head coach Peter Pereira, and it felt like much more. Nikolas George scored 14 minutes into the game and it held up to hand Dartmouth the 1-0 non-league win.

“They won all the 50-50 challenges and when you win those then you’ll win the game,” said Pereira. “They got a cheapy goal but a goal is a goal and they created it. They’re a decent team.”

Dartmouth took 13 minutes to create the first chance when Nathaniel Fernandes hit a shot on the half-volley that forced Attleboro keeper Tyler Stowe into a diving save. A minute later, the Indians had the opener.

George got behind the Attleboro back four down the left channel and took the ball around the sliding Stowe only to have his shot blocked on the line by Dante Arcese. Rather than let the ball go out for a corner, and ignoring the yells of Dartmouth coach Josh Silva, George settled the rebound, dribbled past a scrambling defender, and finished past Stowe at the near post.

It was a scrappy goal and came out of nothing, but it sparked the Indians into life and they could have put the game away before the break but for Stowe, who made six of his eight saves in the first 40 minutes.

He stopped Anthony Neves from close range when the midfielder got to a poor clearance and then again when Neves created space for a left-footed shot that seemed destined for the bottom corner. In the final seconds of the half, he was strong to stop an Isaac Sequeira shot at the near post.

“He’s been making big saves and even saves that don’t look so big become important,” explained Pereira. “He’s doing a really good job for us. The more he plays, the better he gets.”

Pereira also credited his entire back four (Zach White, Ryan Kearney, Max Bohannon, and Arcese) for its growth since allowing five goals in the season opener against Foxboro.

Attleboro struggled to angle or delay its runs in behind the defense, but there were a couple of chances for the Bombardiers.

Harry Lancaster, who was moved up front to try and spark the Attleboro attack, slipped through the right channel but could not get his chip high enough to elude keeper Nathan Morgado. Two minutes before the break, Ahijah Joseph had a go from near midfield but Morgado again was able to back pedal and make a comfortable save.

“When you’e anxious out there…we had 14 of them and if you cut that in half that’s seven more chances to go to goal,” said Pereira.

Pereira let his team know about his frustrations with how the game went in the opening 40 minutes and the halftime team talk seemed to work as Attleboro played much better in the second half, although clear chances were still at a premium.

Lancaster had the best chance when he was sprung by a through ball from midfielder Junior Coca but Morgado raced out to make a slide tackle near the 30 yard line and prevent a shot on goal.

Stowe also had to be sharp to stop shots from Fernandes and Josh Sousa and keep it a one-goal game. Joseph had a shot on target in the 66th minute from the edge of the box, but again Mrogado was in position to make the stop.

It would be the last chance Attleboro would create. Zach Rodrigues, Jack Flynn, and Lancaster were also able to spring the offsides trap a few times but either the pass was too heavy or the touches forced the Bombardiers wide.

“The second half we tried to push people up and it just didn’t happen,” concluded Pereira. “This will hopefully carry over to Tuesday’s game against a league match that is important.”

“We’re still making progress; we’re still getting better. We played better in the second half and if we can do that every game by the end of the season we’ll be playing our best.”

Attleboro (2-4-1) will host league-leading Mansfield on Tuesday night.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.